logo
tearing at the fabric of convention
THE REAL ADJUSTMENT
September 8, 2015
On the Labor Day holiday, I was in my local Walgreen’s buying batteries and trash bags.  I was in a hurry as a moving truck was coming and I had a great bit of packing to do.  My impatience grew as the line moved slowly and I was thinking about all the packing and other work I had to have done before morning. 

I started to feel my rising irritation and observed that it would be a good idea to detach from it.  So I decided to take a step back in my mind and a deep breath into my lungs.  As I did this, I noticed the man standing behind me in the checkout line.  He was alone and fumbling through some discount cards in his wallet.  I guessed him to be in his mid-80s.  He was buying just one thing… a plastic container of Folger’s coffee.

My attention heightened.  I was now not just looking at him.  I was seeing him.  And he looked a bit sad and I sensed a loneliness that was shouldered with a dignity only that generation has.  On impulse, I looked up at the cashier, a somewhat grungy looking guy in his early 30s and asked, “May I also pay for the gentleman’s item behind me?”  The confused cashier responded, “If it’s OK with him.”  So I turned to the gaunt, elderly man with sharp blue eyes behind me and asked, “May I buy this for you?”  He looked at me and I could see he was a bit conflicted.  He said, “You don’t have to do that.”  I responded, “I know, but I’d like to.  You remind me of my father who passed about 3 years ago.  So please allow me this small act of kindness.”  With that, the man started crying.  He apologized and said that he lost his wife about 3 years ago and sometimes he “just gets emotional”.  Then I looked up at the cashier, and his eyes were watering… and I guess mine were too.  I asked the man his name.  “I’m Roy”.   “Roy, it’s nice to meet you.  I’m Patrick.”  After paying for my items and his, I gave him my card and told him if he gets lonely, he should write me.  And then I headed out to the parking lot. 

Out in the lot, a nice couple stopped me and asked directions.  They were lost.  I provided them and as I turned, there was Roy.  He thanked me again with watery eyes and pointed to my card and asked, “What are these letters after your name?”  I said, “DC.  Doctor of Chiropractic.  I am a chiropractor.”

He said, “You know, I started going to a chiropractor about 3 weeks ago.  But I am going to stop.”  When I inquired as to why, he continued, “Because every time I go in, he puts these pads on my back, they are hot and give me electric shocks and then he puts me on a table massager.”  I asked if it helped him at all.  He responded tersely, “Not much.”  I asked if the chiropractor also adjusted him.  “No, not really.  He just does this other stuff.”  My blood started to boil.

“Roy”, I asked, “What caused you to go to the chiropractor?”  He told me that his balance was a little off and he was hoping it would help.  “Any back pain?”  A little, but not too bad.  Internally, my frustration with my profession is now at a full boil.  Externally, I was calm and relaxed with Roy.  I explained to him the power of the adjustment and he should find a chiropractor that focuses on that.  I mentioned one or two names of DC’s that were a bit of a drive, but worth it.  He shook my hand and said he couldn’t thank me enough.  Not because I merely purchased an item for him.  But because I cared.  You see, this man of 86 who is a widower lives alone and when he is out in the world, feels invisible.  And here I was, a chance stranger who ‘saw’ him, felt him, and showed at least a token amount of caring.

Driving away, I was really disturbed about my profession and its own blindness.  The ultimate, unique, and powerful gift of the adjustment has become a dissipated, confused concept in the curriculum of too many chiropractic schools and in too many field practices.  I have seen my share of miraculous outcomes from the simple adjustment.  And for Roy, a man who wants to regain some balance and process some tough emotions, there is nothing better than an adjustment to transform his life!  It is a near miracle that he should find his way into a chiropractic office.  And what happens?  He gets adjunctive therapy.  No adjustment.  I have been fighting this battle for decades and I vow to fight it many more for Roy and all those like him that live in every community throughout the world.

A final sentiment.  I am proud of myself today.  Why?  Because I didn’t let self-absorption with my own pressing issues and challenges blind me to the beauty of the people and the world around me.  I live a lot in my own head.  I do important work.  And I have faced long periods of being self-absorbed.  Today, I observed myself.  And made a decision to SEE Roy in that line.  And in doing so, I gave myself the gift of living the kind of life I aspire to.  And if I can do it, so can you.


GETTING CLEAR ON THE PURPOSE OF YOUR PRACTICE
August 14, 2015
                  GETTING CLEAR ON THE PURPOSE OF YOUR PRACTICE

Does your statement of purpose sound like an answer that is given at a beauty pageant?

The single most important thing a chiropractor (or any business owner for that matter) can do is get crystal clarity of the purpose of the practice.  And let me make something clear, the purpose of the practice should be independent, but aligned with, your personal purpose.  Why?

Because, the practice should exists as an entity independent of you.  It has its own reason to exist in your community.  If you get hit by a truck (something that happened to me once!), should the practice die with you?  Should your community no longer have the impact of what your practice is there to do?  When you want to retire or move, is that the end of the practice too?  I am happy to say that I sold my first practice over 20 years ago and it is still in the same community at the same location, serving people.  Not only was it a salable entity, but it continues to have a positive impact on the community.

Purpose would be defined as the object for which something exists.  If it is your purpose, why do you exist?  If it is the purpose of the practice, why does it exist?  This simple question never has an ‘easy’ answer.  And getting this right is the fundamental fuel that drives success in your business.

When the practice has a clear purpose, employees no longer work for ‘you’.  They work for the business and believe me when I tell you that is a VERY good thing.  Even though you may own the business, when it has a purpose independent of you, you also work for the business.  And when it comes time to sell the business (and that time must come at some point), the probability of transacting a sale and doing so at a proper valuation goes way up when the business and its stakeholders have their own reason to exist independent of you.  All this stems from a statement of purpose that is clear and authentic.

I have been working on multiple projects where I dig into this with DCs pretty aggressively.  And the results are dramatic.  Too many people approach the process of developing a statement of purpose as a sort of mechanized corporate exercise. What I've seen has been pretty bad and in some cases, pathetic.  Not nearly enough thought or spirit is put into the process.  Some statements sound like answers given at a beauty pageant.  “I want to create world peace.”  “I want to end poverty.”  Not that these aren’t noble goals.  They just don’t authentically match the person saying them.

The paradox is that the statement must be deeply personal, deeply reflective of your values.  But simultaneously, it must also have autonomy.  It must stand without you.  I remember one session I was having with an inspiring DC, Dr. Rob Cynowa, who was entering a project to double his practice (Project Double).  I was working with him on the front end of the process and part of what we did was rework the purpose statement for his practice.  The existing one he had was just not getting it.  And he was getting frustrated as everything he was bringing me was trite and mediocre (compared to what I knew he was capable of).  I kept pushing him.  Finally, he took out his diary and started to read his ‘personal’ purpose statement and it was filled with electric descriptions of beauty and esthetics that were very compelling.  I said, “Put those sentiments into your practice purpose!”  He did. And what he crafted was unique, totally aligned with his values, yet could stand alone in that practice 50 years after he retired.  Here is what he came up with:

"We see a sick world with limited potential and too many dangerous interventions. We exist to radically re-energize the health of our community and to restore the beauty in families." 

And I had him further write the clear goal for every patient which was this:

"At Complete Wellness Chiropractic our goal for every patient is to stimulate true health potential by integrating chiropractic care and lifestyle services.  And with that, we pride ourselves on creating an uplifting experience every time someone walks through our door."

Now, you may be unmoved by this and that is fine.  The whole point is that it will attract the people who are aligned with it.  It is important to have clarity on who should and who should NOT be members of the practice.

Here is another one, posted on my Philosophy Formula (www.PhilosophyFormula.com)  private Facebook group page by Dr. Sarah Keen in the UK.  She is getting ready to start a new practice.  There is a long preamble to the actual statement of purpose, but it positions the urgent problem that her practice is to resolve.  I always encourage identifying the problem you want to solve as a key to identifying the purpose of the practice.  Here is what she posted:

Too many of us experience the first glimpse of new life through a fog of intervention and birth trauma. Breastfeeding rates are falling, while our children face more health challenges than ever before. Most parents feel paralyzed, no longer trusting their instincts, and succumbing to fear.

One thing I know for sure, is that our bodies are perfectly designed for healing. Within all of us, there is an electrifying spark just waiting to be ignited, despite any limitations that were put upon us.

Our purpose is to educate, inspire and adjust - both the body and the mind - of whole families. We have a clear goal for every practice member: a life full of enjoyment, sparked by hope, and transformed by the discovery of a new way of living.

I think she means it.  Don’t you?

Please don’t make the mistake of cutting and pasting any of these samples for your own statement.  You need to put in the effort of developing your own if it is to have real power.

My purpose is writing this particular blog is to inspire you to revisit your purpose statement and give it the depth of meaning your practice and community deserves. 

Please post your comments and if you will, your statement of purpose below!


ONE'S TRUE ENEMY - SELF-DOUBT
June 11, 2015
                                               ONE’S TRUE ENEMY IS SELF-DOUBT

We DCs all face to some degree threats and challenges every day.  And it seems that there are numerous enemies out there.  The 3rd party payers who threaten fee reductions and post-payment audits. The regulatory bodies that want to fine us or take away our rights to practice.  The skeptics that want to attack our principles and premises and perhaps the pharmaceutical industry and factions of the medical community that are adverse to our message.  This is to name a few.  There are many more.

But what is the most fundamental enemy of all that faces us???  It is for sure self-doubt!
Doubt will grow in our minds as a spiritual cancer that unchecked, will be fatal to our life and purpose.  It must be eliminated at all costs.  Once the ‘seed of doubt’ is planted, it destabilizes everything you try to do.

Imagine the high-speed downhill competition skier who starts to doubt himself as he is traveling over 60MPH down the slope.  Or the player who doubts herself just before taking the final shot to win the game.  The fighter going into the ring with self-doubt.  And most pernicious, the constant and often unconscious experience of self-doubt will prevent one from even entering the game.  “Play it safe and don’t even try.”

A pivotal moment for me was when I first read Ayn Rand’s passage on self-doubt in her essay, “Philosophy: Who Needs It.”  In it, she identified where self-doubt comes from in a most compelling and esthetically poignant way.  Here is what she said:

“As a human being, you have no choice about the fact that you need a philosophy.  Your only choice is whether you define your philosophy by a conscious, rational, disciplined process of thought and scrupulously logical deliberation — or let your subconscious accumulate a junk heap of unwarranted conclusions, false generalizations, undefined contradictions, undigested slogans, unidentified wishes, doubts and fears, thrown together by chance, but integrated by your subconscious into a kind of mongrel philosophy and fused into a single, solid weight: self-doubt.   Like a ball and chain in the place where your mind’s wings should have grown.”

Do you see the relationship between ‘self-doubt’ and philosophy?  I think we all accept that doubting yourself is a pretty damaging thing.  But the question is, where does the self-doubt come from?  And I think the quote above nails it!  It comes from the junk heap unwarranted conclusions and undefined contradictions.  It comes from a mongrel philosophy! 

Self-doubt is a ball and chain we all need to be freed of.  And how can we do it?  Through philosophy.  The ever vigilant process of refining our premises and removing contradiction.

Philosophy touches ever part of your life and practice.  Check out my Philosophy Formula course (we are registering a new class as I type this!)  If you examine the week by week modules, you will see some of the surprising areas we apply the practical use of philosophy to.  Go here to see it:  www.PhilosophyFormula.com/grow.  Register for the course if you feel moved to – it will change your life.  But even if it is not of interest, take an interest in looking at dimensions of your practice and life in which to apply the powerful tool that is philosophy.

I have found that those who are not interested in philosophy need it most urgently.  Defeat the true enemy, self-doubt - with the greatest of weapons, philosophy.


THE VARIABLE IMPACT RANGE OF THE ADJUSTMENT
June 19, 2014

THERE IS A RANGE IN THE IMPACT THAT AN ADJUSTMENT HAS.  WHAT ARE THE VARIABLES THAT CREATE THE RANGE?

The skill of the chiropractor in general.

Much like a farmer who only has a limited amount of land in which to plant his crop, the chiropractor is limited by the amount of skill that they have developed to deliver an adjustment.  As the farmer can expand the acreage of his/her farm, so too can the chiropractor expand the range of his/her skill.  It is not a fixed quantity, but one that can and does expand with intention and experience.

The state of the chiropractor at the time of a particular adjustment.

Although the farmer may have 5 acres of land, in a given year, he/she may not plant all 5 acres.  Maybe they plant just 3.  In kind, as the chiropractor may have the capacity to deliver the adjustment on, let’s say, a scale of 100.  They may at a given point and time only deliver on say, a level of 70.  This is why intention and present time consciousness are so important to the D.C.

The parameters of the patient in general.

In general, the patient may be very healthy or very stressed and sick.  These parameters will govern the quantitative extent to which the adjustment may influence a patient.  It is established that people who have lost their health in varying degrees can see significant results from adjustments.  As an anecdote, because I am aware of the potential of the chiropractic adjustment, I personally adjusted a drowning victim who had no pulse or respiration.  Within seconds of that adjustment, this person started to breath and his heart started beating.  There were several stunned witnesses.  Skeptics will assert that this was coincidental as compared to cause and effect.  Draw your own conclusions.                                                                                                    

Further, it is critical to cite that healthy patients, who manage well the 3 dimensions of stress in their life and show limited signs of subluxation tension patterns, benefit from the adjustment.  In fact, qualitatively, adjustments received while a patient is in this state of well-being are significant.    But much like the starving man who needs food, when given nourishment the impact of food on this person is quantitatively greater than it would be on a satiated individual.  Again, not that food doesn’t benefit a person that is not starving.  In fact, it is better to receive nourishing food regularly while not starving than it is to wait till you starve and then try to eat.  In kind, it is better for one to receive adjustments in a healthier state than waiting till health deteriorates.

The parameters of the patient at the time of the adjustment.

A healthier patient may have a ‘bad day’ – or in chiropractic terms, an over-stressed day.  The range of the impact of the adjustment in that particular moment will be affected by this.  If the over-stressed patient is ‘receptive’ to the adjustment (which is the result of the office environment, staff, and D.C. getting the patient to the ‘receptive’ state in preparation for the adjustment) then the range of impact is substantial.  If patient is over-stressed without relief at the moment of the adjustment, then it would be as trying to adjust a turtle through its shell… that range of impact of the adjustment would be minimized.

So we have these 4 variables that exist at the moment of any particular adjustment.  The interactions of these variables is complex.  And we must realize that in chiropractic, we look at these adjustments in a series; not relying on one particular adjustment to conclude on the impact of care on a particular person.  But rather, we look at a time-series of adjustments to assess such.

However, the cumulative total in comprised of the aggregate of the individual adjustments.  (We will hold aside from this essay what the patient does between adjustments and what the chiropractor’s process is immediately after the adjustment.  A hint - I am a big fan of something that has all but vanished from practice – the Resting Room.)

With this understanding about the variables related to the range of impact of the adjustment, what can we practitioners do to maximize our results for the betterment of the patient?  Where do we have influence?

1) Constantly strive to increase the skill level at which you can deliver your adjustment.   I don’t see enough intention or attention relative to this in today’s chiropractic culture.

2) Inculcate a process in which you bring yourself to a state of extreme focus and intention before each and every individual adjustment you give every day.  (I may do a blog on this separately.)

3) Educate your patients and provide leadership, and maybe even services if you are so inclined, related to their lifestyle behaviors outside of the office.

4) Have a process of preparation for every patient, prior to every adjustment, so that there body is in a ‘receptive state’ prior to being adjusted.

I cite these as actionable steps, not mere theory.  Delivering on the goods is something every D.C. should be obsessed with and is at the foundation of creating a successful, sustainable practice.  Take some action today.  Your community is in crisis and needs you to.

With Purpose,

Patrick



The Power of the Mastermind
September 6, 2013
It is probably not news to anyone that top-level performers in all areas of life engaged themselves in varying forms of masterminds. We can even go as far back as the classic book, Think and Grow Rich, to find written wisdom about the mastermind process and how profoundly important it is to creating uncommon outcomes.

These masterminds can take on a multitude of forms. They can be very formal forums such as the YPO (Young Presidents Organization) or groups of friends and colleagues who get together for stimulating conversation on a ritualistic basis. I have personally spent tens of thousands of dollars to belong to such groups and also lead a group of exceptionally successful chiropractors called the Ultimate Achievers Club. Getting positively minded, successful people together in a room for the expressed purpose of sharing best practices, stimulating new ideas, and holding each other accountable to reaching one’s objectives is the nourishment upon which high-level success thrives.

Recently, I was interviewed by my good friend and extraordinary Internet marketing expert, Alex Mandossian, about the power and application of masterminds. As usual, Alex is innovating his ways of communicating to his audience. This particular interview was conducted as a live Google Hangout. So there are two reasons for you to watch the recording of this interview:

1) The content about masterminds may be very useful to you.

2) You need to learn more about Google Hangouts as I believe webinars are dead and this is the future. I will likely do a full blog post on this sometime soon.

Click here to watch. Enjoy the interview!


"Motivation is simple. You eliminate those who are not motivated." - Lou Holtz
June 15, 2012
If you prefer the video version of this post click here.

Dear Colleague,

I have come to observe an important distinction within the ranks of chiropractic which is really a microcosm of what I see in the world at large. It is a global mindset issue in individuals that creates the lens through which they see the world and drives their actions and behaviors and consequently, will dictate how the world sees them. It culminates into your success, or lack thereof.

What I am talking about here is the mentality of entitlement versus the mentality of motivation. Both are very strong forces that lead to very different destinations. One destination is a good place, the other? Not so much. The good news is that mindsets are NOT inborn. They can be consciously chosen and then 'habitualized' through consistent practice.

To become a chiropractor, you spend a lot of time in school and invest a substantial amount of money in your education. Too often, after this investment of time and money, one is tempted to get a core sense of, "I've arrived!" The corollary mindset to this is one of entitlement. "I put in my time. I spent my money. I deserve my reward." Oh, what a rude awakening the DC of that orientation is in for. The only thing your chiropractic education entitles you to is the opportunity to go out there and built a career by adding value to the lives of others.

Motivation, not entitlement is the key driver to launch, build and sustain a long term successful career. And as the above quote from Lou Holtz says in essence, those who are not motivated get eliminated! So, here's my question for you - do you have habits and systems built into your daily routines that create motivation? Or do you sit back and gripe about a world or a profession that didn't give you the career and results you feel you are entitled to?

Motivation means you are willing to work hard. You are willing to risk. You are willing to delay gratification today for a better future tomorrow. You are willing to learn. You are committed to growing. You see an urgent problem and you want to be the solution. You have an important purpose... Entitlement means the exact opposite of all these.

Ask yourself the question right now, and be 100% honest with yourself. In your current mindset and circumstance, is your default headspace 'motivation' or is it 'entitlement'? The good news is, if it's the wrong one, you can now consciously change it to the 'right one' and take action to keep it there. Lastly, I will say that the main tools I use to stay motivated - and it does require tools and the discipline to use them - consists of 3 things:

1. Consistent morning rituals to get my headspace right (I may do a post on this in detail in the future).

2. A comprehensive success library of books, audios, and videos that keep me growing, learning, and motivated. This is my main secret weapon for motivation and I will be releasing one for the chiropractic profession shortly.

3. Being in weekly accountability group with other like-minded people who share my values. I have been doing this for over 3 years and it changed my life. I will do a future post on this also.

You motivated yet??? Let's go tear at the fabric of convention!

PG


"Chiropractic is a bastard profession and there has to be a little bastard in each and every one ...
April 13, 2012
Dear Colleague,

Welcome to the first installment of my blog, Tearing at the Fabric of Convention. I know it is somewhat of an odd name, but let me explain...

When I formed my new entity, Action Potential Holdings, Inc., one of the first tasks was to identify the core values of the organization. And Tearing at the Fabric of Convention was the very first one we came up with. Why? Because that is what has been at the heart of every positive evolutionary change in humankinds history and certainly, it is what every true chiropractor does in their practice and in their community every day.

I was 26 years old and three years out of chiropractic school when I was in an audience where Dr. Larry Markson was the presenter. There as a tension in my body, like there was a tension in the room. It was excitement. You could almost reach out and touch it. I was inspired by Larry's power and presence (and still am!). He said something that day that stuck, "Chiropractic is a bastard profession and there has to be a little bastard in each and every one of us to want to be a chiropractor!" My breathing paused and my pulse quickened. Was I offended or inspired by this? As the crowd cheered and I with them, I knew it was the latter. Moments such as this help forge ones soul.

There is something really wrong in the world of healthcare. The contradiction of calling and practicing 'sick care' as 'health care' is literally killing our culture. I became a chiropractor because I learned of a higher truth, a philosophy whose power and beauty lied in its simplicity. And I realized that I would be 'tearing at the fabric of convention' by choosing it as my profession. Since I made my decision to become a chiropractor I knew intuitively I would be that little bastard who was crazy enough to want to change the world. This is how I wanted to earn my living.

With disappointment, I have seen over the years that people who were tearing at the fabric, great chiropractic champions, started to lose their edge. Their words became duller and their cause smaller. They succumbed to the pressures of the status quo. Politics, patient expectations, insurance control, it beat them into submission. It is easy to see how that could happen. I have gone through my own phases of losing the forest (the Big Idea) for the trees (the daily grind). However, if tearing at the fabric of convention is a core value that we visit daily, then we stay the course and change the world. Now you know why this was my first core value.

So, if you lost your edge, let this be your wakeup notice to reclaim it. And if you find colleagues that have given into convention, shake them loose! We've all got to play bigger. Before you leave this note, I ask this, what one thing can you do right now, that would give you more 'edge'? ........... Do it!

For a better future with you in mind,

PG

Patrick Gentempo, Jr., D.C.
CEO - Action Potential Holdings, Inc.